Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Australian Submarine Crew Retention Trouble

Cross-posted by Lubbers Line at Hundreds of Fathoms

The Australian Navy has been having some submarine crew retention problems lately and the government has a solution.
(Source: AU Navy Photo - Collins Class)

From the theage.com.au: Defence to get big spending boost

The Federal Government is planning a huge increase in defence spending to overcome deficiencies in areas such as the submarine service.

Defence sources say the money, to be made available in the May budget, will be used to recruit thousands more defence personnel and offer incentives for existing staff to stay.

Numbers in the submarine service are 25 to 30 per cent below requirements. As a result, the number of days at sea per boat has been cut from a planned 127 this year to 87.

Sources said the navy was having problems retaining WA-based submarine crew members, who were being offered $135,000 to work in the private sector, particularly in the mining industry, almost double their usual pay.

The situation has become so serious that defence is "cold calling" former submarine crews and asking them to return.

Although increases in pay and retention bonuses are an incentive it doesn't help when your only Submarine Rescue system the Remora has been sitting at the bottom of ocean off Western Australia's Rottnest Island since December. I blogged a little about the Remora's problems here back in September 2005.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Two British Submariners Die In Arctic

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

Two submariners on HMS Tireless (S-88) were killed by an "explosion" of an O2 candle while the sub was operating under the Arctic ice during ICEX-2007. From the U.S. Navy press release:

The Royal Navy submarine HMS Tireless, participating in the Joint U.S. Navy/Royal Navy Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-2007) in the Arctic Ocean, experienced an explosion of a self contained oxygen generation candle that killed two crew members and injured one.
The explosion occurred at approximately 12:20 a.m. (EDT) March 21.
The injured member of the crew has been transported by an Alaska Air National Guard C-130 to Anchorage for treatment.
“I am deeply saddened at the loss of the crewmembers from the Tireless,” said Vice Adm. Jay Donnelly, Commander, Submarine Force. “Submariners are brothers at sea and we all feel the loss as if it were our own. We stand by to continue to assist in any way we can.”
ICEX-2007 and Royal Navy officials have confirmed that the Tireless is safe and operational and that a full assessment is being conducted.
This article from The Scotsman has more on oxygen (also known as "chlorate") candles as they're used on British subs:

Chlorate candles have been used to create oxygen on submarines since the Second World War, usually as an emergency measure if the vessel's rises to dangerous levels. According to the navy source, one such candle was ignited yesterday on board HMS Tireless, as a part of training...
...An MoD spokesman said the chlorate candles on board HMS Tireless had never failed before and, until then, had a 100 per cent safety record. Even so, their use on other boats had been restricted until safety checks could be carried out, he said.
A former sailor on British nuclear submarines insisted chlorate candles are known by crew to be dangerous. The mariner, who asked not to be named, said: "It's not a candle like you'd think - there's no open flame. It's ignited in a metal canister with a .22 bullet and they burn without any flame.
"Everyone on board will have been trained how to use them. They have definitely been known to explode before - high heat and oxygen is a combustible mix - but I couldn't imagine the force would have killed two men. Something else must have gone wrong.
"The candles line the entire sub and are used in an emergency. Next to each is a pair of asbestos gloves and a bucket of water. If you see the candle is starting to flame or burn, you simply put on the gloves and dump it into the water.
An explosion and/or fire onboard a submarine while it's under ice was always one of those "worst case" disaster scenarios you talked through during advanced damage control training. Luckily, the ice in this case was thin enough to break through, and the crew of the Tireless was able to skillfully make it to the surface.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Talk about timing

Without getting into subject matter too much, I had a coincidence of timing with Gen. Peter Pace (the JCS Chairman) on views of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Navy Times published me again, this time a piece I submitted in August 2006, with an opposing view to the general.

The storm should start at work about tomorrow morning, if my last controversial story is any indication...

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Hey, Shipwreck

If you haven't seen the "Hey, Shipwreck" series, you are missing out! It's made with a gaming engine (similar to "Halo"), and set in a futuristic space setting, but it's a humorous take on submarine life (written and produced by a Trident Nav ET). Click the link to check it out...I've heard from sailors on many waterfront boats here in Pearl Harbor, and it's a big hit!

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Crossposted at The Online Magazine Formerly Known As Rob's Blog

Anuther great Tommy Cox video... plus an OBG....

Well Sir....I saw this over at Myrons Random Thoughts.....and I liked it so much... I thought I'd post it as well......

...and my favorite Tommy Cox rendition....Diesel Boats Forever....

posted by Cookie....

Monday, March 05, 2007

Late Announcement * TheSubReport.com Celebrates Another Year of Service

TheSubReport.com rolled past its second year of operation on 27 FEB 2007. Thanks to all that continue to read and support the site. The funny thing is every time I get a chance to talk to a active duty submariner, they have never heard of TSR or any of the submarine blogs. Besides that oversight, traffic continues to climb and we will just have to do a better job of getting the word out to our active duty brethren. I’m happy to see more submarine bloggers are joining the community and the addition of submarine wife bloggers to the fold as well. And that shipmate over at TubeDaze.com is something else. Special thanks to Richard from Cob Links for his help, content Ideas and additions to TSR. And Ray from Zero Bubble for his awesome graphic support. For my readers across the pond and in other countries, thanks for stopping by. TSR strives to be an all inclusive source for submarine news from around the world.

Now Back to your regular submarine news coverage.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

First North Pole Skipper Passes Away

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

CDR William Anderson, the CO of USS Nautilus (SSN 571) during her first visit to the North Pole, passed away late last month at 85. A true submarining pioneer, he went on to serve four terms in Congress after retiring from the Navy. Nevertheless, he will always be best know for his feat of leading his ship and crew to the North Pole in 1958 -- an event Anderson wrote about in his book "Nautilus 90 North". The boat's triumphant return to the U.S. is shown here:

[Note: This picture came from this page of photos from the CSP Arctic Submarine Laboratory page.]